Head of anti-racism drive to visit UK.
The new head of FIFA’s anti-racism drive has revealed that he intends to meet the players involved in the Premier League’s recent racial abuse cases as part of a fact-finding mission.
Jeffrey Webb, head of the CONCACAF federation, has been appointed to lead a new task force set up by world governing body FIFA to tackle racism.
He will visit England to see how the Football Association reacted to the cases involving Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry.
Suarez was handed an eight-game suspension and a £40,000 fine for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011, while Terry was banned for four matches and fined £220,000 last September for a similar offence against Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand.
When asked about the two cases, Webb said: “It is a huge concern, to be honest. During a game, for me it is unacceptable. I think the incidents were unacceptable.
“The FA has been very aggressive in their campaign and I think if these incidents do exist in an environment such as the Premier League then it begs the question what happens in some other leagues where they don’t have the resources and the will and the desire as the English FA has had over the years.
“I will be meeting with the FA chairman David Bernstein and visiting the FA. At that time I would also like to meet with some of the players, perhaps have a round-table discussion to talk to the players and get their input, get some suggestions from them and learn from what their experiences are.”
Asked if he intended to meet Suarez, Terry, Evra and Ferdinand, Webb said: “Yes. We would like to hear both sides”.
Webb, who was speaking in Edinburgh during a meeting of football rule-makers the International FA Board, said black players had been let down by the sport’s authorities.
He highlighted the case of AC Milan midfielder Kevin Prince-Boateng, who stormed off the pitch after being the target of racist chants in a friendly game against a club from the Italian fourth division in January.
“We’ve been talking for a long time in football and I don’t really think that we’ve supported the players,” Webb said.
“I don’t think we’ve necessarily put the right sanctions in place to support them. It’s a travesty that it comes to that.
“We as FIFA and the governing bodies have to make sure that players like Kevin Prince-Boateng and all the players around the world have the same rights and opportunities.
“I really don’t think that financial instruments in today’s world is enough to deal with it.
“With the money that’s involved in football today, the fines that are being established, I don’t think they’re working, obviously.”